Progressive Revival

It continues…Memphis Bishop Terry Steib this week called on Catholics not to be “one-issue” voters, in contrast to Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput (whose latest comments in a talk titled “Little Murders” were especially strong) and some others. Steib, in this NCR piece, says “We must recognize that God through the Church, is calling us to be prophetic in our own day. If our conscience is well formed, then we will make the right choices about candidates who may not support the Church’s position in every case.”

Citing words from a statement, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” a voting guide issued last November by the Bishops of the United States, Steib wrote that “there may be times when a Catholic who rejects a candidate’s unacceptable position may decide to vote for that candidate for other morally grave reasons. Voting in this way would be permissible only for truly grave moral reasons, not to advance narrow interests or partisan preferences or to ignore a fundamental moral evil.”

(Read Steib’s full text here.)

Steib is one of just a dozen African-American Catholic bishops, which some say will have informed his statements. But Steib has never been one to speak his mind, in a gentle voice, on a range of issues that might perturb some of his brethren among the 285 or so active bishops.

In his Washington Post column today, E.J. Dionne notes that Steib–and Los Angeles auxiliary Bishop Gabino Zavala, who voice similar views to Steib’s–are in the majority among the bishops. In that sense, the bishops may be in tune with Catholic voters. Latinos are surely going for Obama, and he may be splitting to elusive white Catholic vote.  

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